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tv   ABC World News Sunday  ABC  September 12, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST

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captioned by closed captioning services inc. i'm dan harris. tonight on "world news," warnings missed? as homeowners return to that neighborhood incinerated by a gas explosion, a document shows the owner of the pipeline was warned of an unacceptably high risk three years ago. free at last? after so much back and forth, iran says it will release one of those three american hikers, but the news for her companions is not as good. boehner blinks? the top republican in the house says he would vote to raise taxes in the rich, leaving room for a deal with the white house who said ramped up it effort to discredit him. gulf surprise. the question for months has been, where did all that oil go? now, one scientist says she has the answer. and, vip treatment. spa treatments, gourmet food, $45,000 private cabanas? this is a rock concert?
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good evening. new questions tonight about the gas main that exploded in a huge fire ball, turning entire homes in a neighborhood outside of san francisco into piles of ash. four people were killed. five are still missing. 60 were injured. and today, we learned that three years ago, the power company determined that gas line was at risk of failure. so, now the question -- could this disaster have been prevented? neal karlinsky is in san bruno, california, once again tonight. >> reporter: the road home began at the end of this long line in a parking lot filled with hundreds who last saw their homes while escaping the explosion. they were allowed to return in shifts, under tight security and escorts from the utility company to personally start each home's pilot light safely. >> we don't want to live there, we just get clothes. >> reporter: tonight, there is new information that the pipeline was known to be potentially dangerous. in a 2007 document, pg and e,
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which owns the line, said the pipeline, quote, ranks in the top 100 highest risk line sections, adding, the risk of failure is unacceptably high. the document was part of a budget request to replace the line. >> this raises the question of what pg&e knew and when they knew it, and whether better safety procedures could have avoided this horrible tragedy. >> reporter: san bruno's mayor was unaware of the risk assessment. is that troubling to you? >> the whole thing is. >> reporter: you can see the pipe right there that blew, investigators from the ntsb are taking measurements and pictures of it. it's the focus of their investigation. later, investigators will ship the damaged section of pipe to a lab in washington for tests to help determine whether sewer line work in the neighborhood could have been a factor. >> that's one of the things that that will help ascertain, because we will be able to determine, was the pipeline
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failure due to fatigue, or impact, because of the construction? >> reporter: tonight, even as residents return, more frustration. >> i can't get in. >> reporter: many aren't yet allowed to go back. others, who were supposed to be let in, were told at the last minute to come back tomorrow. so, you came here today thinking you were going home and they told you you can't? >> they told us we can't. they changed the bound rips out, more houses. >> reporter: behind me here is where homeowners have been lining up all day to find out when they can go in. we've not been allowed to get in there with homeowner, but we will be soon. but the owners of at least 83 homes damaged or destroyed in this fire ball still have no idea when they'll be able to get inside and find out if they have anything left. dan? >> incredibly frustrating for those people, i sure. neal, thank you. that's neal karlinsky tonight. and in colorado, hundreds of evacuees were allowed to return to their homes in an area near boulder that was hit by wildfires. 169 homes were destroyed. now investigators are looking
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into whether a fire pit, a type of campfire, sparked this blaze, which could mean criminal charges are possible. the fire is now more than 70% contained. congress goes back into session tomorrow, and issue number one is your taxes. in particular, what to do about those controversial tax cuts enacted under george w. bush. the white house and republicans have been sparring over this issue, but today, a top republican seemed to open the door to a deal. here's david kerley. >> reporter: in a week during which you'll hear a lot of this -- >> tax cuts. >> tax cuts. >> tax cuts. >> tax cuts. >> reporter: expect an earful on the bush tax cuts specifically. republicans want to extend them. the president says it's time to let them expire for the rich, those making more than $250,000. and today, a stunning admission from the top republican in the house. >> if the only option i have is to vote for those at 250 and below, of course i'm going to do that. but i think that's bad policy. >> reporter: a nod to the president's plan, and a strategic effort to blunt mr. obama's latest attack.
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>> let me be clear to mr. boehner and everybody else. we should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer. >> reporter: the president claim s letting the cuts expire will give the government $700 billion to cut the deficit. >> borrowing $700 billion to extend tax cuts that average more than $100,000 a year to millionaires and even billionaires, is the least effective bang for the buck we can have. >> reporter: extending the cuts for everyone cost the government $3.7 trillion over ten years. what are the odds the bush tax cuts get extended before election day? >> i'd say the chances are zero that those tax cuts get extended. >> reporter: what we are seeing is a white house worried about john boehner becoming the next speaker, and how would the house operate under a speaker boehner? he's already called for a repeal of the president's health care reform and the financial reform law. so, the white house press secretary was quick to point to
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a "new york times" story headlined today, a republican leader, tightly bound to lobbyists, including those from wall street. >> so they can go back to writing the rules themselves. they say, we don't need to buy access to mr. boehner, we already have that. >> reporter: mr. boehner has gotten the attention of the white house. press secretary robert gibbs just put out a statement a few minutes ago, saying they welcome mr. boehner's words, but say time will tell if those words become action. and the white house tells me that the president will talk about boehner's statement in the coming days. dan? >> thanks, david kerley. and so now we're going to bring in our senior washington editor rick klein for his weekly "political insights" segment. and did boehner actually blink? >> i think boehner winked more than blinked. because, dan, it does give the president more of a path to getting the tax cuts passed in a form that he wants. the flip side is that democrats can no longer argue it's republicans standing in the way of getting this done. this highlights one of the potential shl pitfalls they are
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building up bainer in this race. when they have someone who is the head of the party of no who is now saying yes, it's potentially problematic for democratic arguments. >> so, interesting thing happening this tuesday in the world of politics, the last big primary day before the midterms in november. eight races, seven states, plus d.c. which one are you watching the most closely? >> delaware is getting so much attention. a sleepy race in the smallest of states, getting so much attention at the end, because the tea party there could cost republicans the chance to pick up a seat in one of the most democratic states in the country. here, christie o'donnell got some late support from sarah palin and others. she's running a strong challenge against mike castle, the establishment choice. this could be a case where the tea party takes a big chunk away from the republican chances this fall. >> rick klein, thank you. and meanwhile, some new economic numbers that could prove troubling for democrats trying to hold onto power eer congress.
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170,000 families were homeless -- or, rather, in homeless shelters in 2009. that's a 30% increase in two years. the census bureau is expected to announce this week that as many as 15% of american families lived in poverty last year, up from 13.2%. in iran tonight, it now appears that an american woman arrested more than a year ago along the border with iraq is on the verge of coming home. but the news for her two traveling companions is not so good. they may be able to go on trial for espionage. here's jim sciutto. >> reporter: the welcome news came on iranian state television. tehran's chief prosecutor saying, sarah shourd would be released duce to her health, provided she pay half a million dollars in bail. but he added there's now enough evidence to try shourd and the two other american hikers, josh fattal and shane bauer, for illegally entering the country. today, their lawyer was allowed to meet them for the first time since their arrest 14 months ago, saying, despite everything, they were all in high spirits. "i'm hoping to get all of them released on bail," he said.
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for now, though, shourd will be leaving behind her fiance, shane bauer and good friend josh fattal. president mahmoud ahmadinejad personally lobbied for her freedom, only to be subtled by the yjudiciary, which first delayed her release, then aided the bail demand. >> we're hopeful and encouraged by this news, but there have been starts and stops in this before, and until that actually happens, you know, we're on a wait and see basis. >> reporter: she's being released on bail. will she be pressured to return for the trial? >> i'm sure it will weigh heavily on her, if they do ask for her to come back. nobody wants to think that two people's lives depend on them returning to a country. >> reporter: one thing u.s. officials insist is that any bail money is not coming from the u.s. government. still, shourd's lawyer says the release is likely to happen tomorrow. dan? >> thanks, jim. in chile, the 33 miners trapped for more than five weeks are now getting some amenities most of us take for granted.
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electricity, water, fiber optic communications and fresh air. the ventilation has improved so much that the miners are allowed to now smoke cigarettes. they will be sent two packs a day to share. all summer, as you no doubt remember, we watched as millions of gallons of oil gushed into the gulf of mexico. but then, a mystery. where did all that oil go? now, some scientists say they have an answer. here's matt gutman. >> reporter: for 86 days, this well gushed crude oil into the gulf, over 180 million gallons. 17 exxon valdezes. so, where did it go? a noaa study last month said 75% of the oil was scooped up, burned off or evaporated. now researchers say they have a simpler answer. it sank. >> no, it's not gone. it in places where nobody looks for it. it's stuck on the bottom. a lot of it is on the bottom. >> reporter: dr. joye and her
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team have been taking core samples of the sea floor. she says they found a field of oil two inches thick spreading as far as 70 miles from the well head. >> we're finding it everywhere that we've looked. >> reporter: i wonder if you could pinpoint one thing for us that is most worrisome about your findings so far. >> there's nothing living in these cores other than bacteria. i have yet to see a living shrimp, a living worm, nothing. >> reporter: joye, who cautions those findings are preliminary, says if those organisms are effected, eventually larger fish and perhaps humans may also be. in a statement, the government says, it's working with academic scientists to monitor aggressively where the oil is subsurface. but that hasn't always been the case. in may, joye was part of a team featured on this news cast that discovered giant underwater flume plumes of oil. at first, the administration demanded they stop talking about the plumes. the government, ultimately, and
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then bp, acknowledged the plumes existence. do you expected to be hounded because of this discovery, as well? >> yes, i do. >> reporter: this time, also, joye says she has more research to do, but is convinced the evidence speaks for itself. matt gutman, abc news. the fourth hurricane of the season looks like it could turn into a monster. igor formed in the atlanta overnight and has already reached category 4 strength with 140-mile-an-hour winds. the storm poses no immediate threat to land, but forecasters say people all over the east coast should be keeping an eye on this one. and coming up here on "world news" this sunday, our martha raddatz goes to one of the most dangerous combat outposts in afghanistan, where the commander carries a card bearing the name of every soldier he's lost. from the ruins of the world trade center, the survivor tree, rescued and now set to return. and, check out what's happened to the rock and roll experiences. massages, manicures and gourmet food -- for the right price.
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were deployed last week. they're going to serve in eastern afghanistan, a remote region where the insurgency is very strong. this is a crucial test of mr. obama's surge strategy. our martha raddatz went to the front lines with the commanding general of american forces in that part of the country. >> reporter: for two days, we traveled with major general john campbell across vast stretches of countryside to some of the most remote and dangerous combat outposts in afghanistan. >> on top of the hill top is pakistan. they're hit with ten rounds of indirect fire yesterday. >> reporter: which is why, when we hit the landing zone, we are told to run. general campbell commands more than 30,000 soldiers, who see regular and sustained combat. some, just rushing back to reload when we arrive. it has been a bloody summer. when we visited general campbell
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in july, he had lost 27 soldiers. >> we've at least doubled what we had before. about 76 right now. >> reporter: so many soldiers that campbell can no longer carry the cards bearing each of their names in just one pocket. can you just read one of them there? >> this is captain commander wallace. he was killed just last weekend. he had been in country for about four days. he's got four kids. four small kids, so -- >> reporter: campbell and his soldiers do not expect the violence to ease up with the arrival of the last surge forces. >> where we go, where we haven't been, brings out the enemy, i think. >> reporter: for the soldiers doing the fighting, they see the surge as an opportunity. >> we're going to be able to get into the different towns and cities and get to know the leaders. we're going to be able to push out more and hopefully get the people on our side. >> reporter: the soldiers say they have already seen some progress, but there is a sense
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that with the clock ticking in washington, the surge is the last real chance for success. >> the time is right. we have an opportunity to make a huge differences. >> reporter: and as general campbell knows all too well, whatever difference they make will mean more sacrifice. martha raddatz, abc news, kunar province, afghanistan. and when we come back, the survivor tree. it once stood at the world trade center, now scarred, but on the way back. remember when you had more energy for 18 holes with your buddies? [ glass shatters ] more passion for the one you love? more fun with your family and friends? it could be a treatable condition called low testosterone, or low t. c'mon, stop living in the shadows. you've got a life to live. [ male announcer ] so don't blame it on aging. talk to your doctor r and go to to find out more.
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one thing that has largely been lost in the fight over the plan to build an islamic community center near ground zero is that there's finally been genuine progress in restoring the actual site. and in time for next year's tenth anniversary, some city workers are planning to bring back to ground zero an extraordinary survivor. t.j. winnick has that story. >> reporter: at first glance, this pear tree looks like all the rest in this bronx nursery. but look a little closer, and its scars hint at an incredible journey. one that began nine years ago. in the days after september 11th, rescue workers were in a race against time to find survivors. this tree, bent and broken, was pulled out from under 12 feet of rubble. it had sprung a small branch, willing itself to survive. richie cabo has been nursing the tree back to health from the beginning. >> when we saw the tree come up, it looked like a wounded soldier. and it had ashes on the top part of the crown.
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>> reporter: it became known as the survivor tree. serving as an inspiration for all those who escaped ground zero. >> people will want to look at it and be part of it. people will want to hug this tree, because they're survivors. >> reporter: soon, it will return home when it is replanted this november at what will be the national september 11th memorial and museum. the first trees were planted here on the memorial site two weeks ago. in the end, there will be 416 in all. all of them, white oaks like these right here, except for one. the survivor tree. >> you'll be able to look at this tree and tell time. oh, yeah, that's -- that burned bark, that's from 9/11. and everything else is a rebirth and regrowth. >> reporter: the tree now stands 35 feet high and is thriving, having made it through new york's, and america's, darkest day. t.j. winnick, abc news, new york. >> great story. and coming up, is it still a genuine rock and roll experience when you can get a foot massage?
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responding with some astoundingly lavish offerings. at woodstock, people put up with mud, rain and general misery. flash forward 41 years to the three-day music festival in chicago, louisiana palooza, where, for 45,000 bucks, you can rent a private cabana, air condition i conditioning, gourmet food, your own bartender and a privileged view of lady gaga. did you imagine being in the crowd ever again? >> i mean, i guess i could imagine. i don't know if i would want to go back in. >> reporter: if $45,000 is a little steep, how about 850 bucks for access to a private shaded area with more fancy food, spa treatments -- >> massages today, massages and facials and mini mani/pedis tomorrow. >> reporter: when i think rock and roll, i think mini mani/pedis. luxury port-a-potties. this sort of embodies rock and roll for me. an air conditioned bathroom.
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and chauffeured golf carts. your targeting people who are making a calculation that, like, this is -- i'm willing to pay a little extra for a foot massage when i want it. >> yes, that would be correct. >> reporter: vip treatment seems to be the new big thing in the concert industry. for around $950, vips can meet the band kiss and get a boat load of branded gifts. for around $1,800, bon jovi fans get special backstage tours -- >> this one is probably the most recognizable guitar of john's. >> reporter: a prime rib dinner, and even a chance to take their seats home with them. and at ozzfest, hard rocking brides and grooms can get the unholy matrimony package for just $2,666. get it? the sour economy has brought the concert industry down by about 15% this year, but even during a recession, some people are still
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willing to pay for star treatment. >> in these economic times, it was a sacrifice. but well worth it. and that is going to do it for "world news" this sunday. i'm dan harris. thank you for watching. diane sawyer is right back here tomorrow night. good night.
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>> carolyn: dozens of san bruno evac wheeze are going home tonight, three days after the massive fireball killed four of their neighbors. is a they're settling in, the city confirming four people are still missing. the california public utilities commission is ordering pg&e to conduct leak surveys on all of it's lines, and the utility is interesting being asked to explain it's proceed -- procedures. >> alan: carolyn in the days ahead we're going to be hearing a
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